Our survey data show that citizens overestimate support among the opposing party for democratic norm violations by up to 48.7 percentage points. We recently added questions to capture differences between actual support for political violence and perceived support for political violence.
Both parties have an extremely poor understanding of the extent to which the other side supports violence. Democrats overestimate Republican support for political violence by 45.5 percentage points (46.2% versus .7%). Similarly, Republicans overestimate Democratic support by 41.3 percentage points (43.1% versus 1.8%). More striking than the difference between perceptions and truth is that truth is within the margin of error of 0, while perceptions are close to a majority. This is the difference between a problem in need of our attention and a problem set to metastasize into a civil war.
Political violence may be rare in this country, but misinformation on its support among the electorate is rife.
You can always view the results of the America’s Political Pulse tracking poll to see major findings, explore over-time trends, or download top-line results.